Glass half-full

Clear glass tumbler half-filled with water.

It is said that optimists see the above as half-full and pessimists see it as half-empty.

It is the opposite when it comes to my journey into living a sustainable life.

I see that my half-empty green-lid landfill bin as a sign of optimism.

Actually, my green-lid bin is not quite half empty.  Most weeks, it is actually about 10% full.

And my yellow-lid mixed recycling bin is usually more than 75% full.

It has taken effort including:

  • buying wisely (what is needed and choosing to pay more for things that will last a long time),
  • composting kitchen waste at home, and
  • green-lid bin diving to retrieve recyclables from ending up in landfill – training the family is still on-going.

Where I was

Before I became aware of sustainability, I viewed the dumping everything into the green-lid landfill bin as a great convenience.

An event that prompted my desire to live more sustainably was when the City of Vincent (CoV) surveyed ratepayers (people who live in the locality and pay they city for services) about what kind of recycling we would like to have the City provide.

For convenience sake, I replied that I would like a large yellow-lid mixed recycling bin.

Since joining Transition Town Vincent (TTV) and learning more about waste, I wish I had opted for the alternative of having multiple smaller bins which would contain waste that residents had already sorted (e.g. paper & cardboard, glass, plastic).

It turns out that the contents a significant number of yellow-lid bins are rejected because they contain non-recyclable material, like garden and kitchen waste.  Rejected contents are sent to landfill.

Hence my regret for choosing the convenience of mixed-recycling.

But I live and have learnt.

Where I am

Contents of my yellow-lidded mixed recycling bin

Now, through my work with Transition Town Vincent, I try to influence my local community to effect better recycling practices (i.e. only putting the correct materials into their yellow-lid bins) and with the City of Vincent to trial waste disposal alternatives.

On the latter, TTV and CoV are have set up a Community Composting Station, which will accept kitchen waste which will be composted locally, reducing greenhouse gas emission from garbage trucks.

The City of Vincent is trialling a smaller green-lid bin for a once-off $40 discount.  I have chosen not to participate because I don’t think that once-off $40 discount is sufficient incentive to have the convenience of occasionally being able to send more to landfill.

Where I want to go

My journey still continues and I think I will be on it for my whole life.

The optimist in me would like to achieve a green-lid bin fully empty AND a yellow-lid bin also fully-empty.

The pragmatist in me acknowledges this will be difficult but I like being an optimist.

Individual journeys

Each persons’ waste reduction journey is their own.  How fast they travel and where they want to go is up to them.

I believe by reading this blog, you have started or are well on your way on your journey.  I congratulate you – it takes all our efforts to make our communities more sustainable.

Community Composting Station

Do you want to compost your kitchen scraps but don’t have the time, equipment, skills or inclination to do it yourself?

Maybe you’d like to do your bit for the environment and remove the organics from your bin that is destined for landfill (in landfill, the organics break down to methane gas, which is a big contributor to greenhouse gas emissions).

The Community Compost Station has been set up to take local kitchen scraps and turn them into compost.

A sign in the foreground, dome holding bin in mid-ground and a storage shed in the background.

It is run by volunteers from Transition Town Vincent, with full support from the City of Vincent.

The Community Compost Station (located beside the Floreat Athena Football Club at Britannia Park) is open to accept your kitchen scraps in 3 easy steps:

  1. Save up your kitchen scraps (hint: keep them in a container in the fridge so they don’t get smelly).
  2. When your container is full, drop your scraps to the Compost Station (while you’re there, turn the compost tumblers to help keep the composting waste aerated – this aids the composting process)
  3. Join our Facebook Group, and we will let you know when a batch of compost is ready (so you can come and help yourself to this wonderful free garden resource).

Handful of compost